Earthquakes

Magnitude 5+ Earthquakes – Global

5.4 earthquake hits the South Pacific Ocean.

5.2 earthquake hits Hokkaido, Japan.

5.1 earthquake hits Vanuatu.

5.1 earthquake hits the Kuril Islands.

5.0 earthquake hits the Ryukyu Islands off Japan.

5.0 earthquake hits off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico.

Wildlife

Pollination without Bees

Israeli farmers are experimenting with an artificial method of pollinating crops because of fears that disappearing bees could threaten the future of some agriculture.

The method involves tractors pulling a mast equipped with small cannons that shoot out pollen into individual almond trees. The pollen is first extracted from budding trees with a mechanical harvester.

Eylam Ran, CEO of Edete Precision Technologies for Agriculture, says the process can initially help out pollinating bees, then eventually replace them.

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Environment

Global Temperature Extremes

The week’s hottest temperature was 114 degrees Fahrenheit (45.6 degrees Celsius) in Dori, Burkino Faso.

The week’s coldest temperature was minus 88.0 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 66.7 degrees Celsius) at Vostok, Antarctica.

Temperatures were tabulated from the more than 10,000 worldwide synoptic weather stations. The United Nations World Meteorological Organization sets the standards for weather observations, and provides a global telecommunications circuit for data distribution.

Disease

COVID-19

The countries with the 10 greatest number of Covid-19 cases:

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Polio – Global

Three additional wild poliovirus 1 (WPV1) cases were reported over the past week–one in Afghanistan and 2 in Pakistan, bringing the global total to 45 in 2020.

Ebola – DR Congo

From 15 to 21 April 2020, three new confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) were reported in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, all from Beni Health Zone in North Kivu Province

Volcanos

Roundup of Global Volcanic Activity – Ongoing Activity for the Week 15 April 2020 – 21 April 2020

Aira | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that during 13-20 April incandescence from Minamidake Crater (at Aira Caldera’s Sakurajima volcano) was visible nightly. The seismic network occasionally recorded very small eruptive events and three explosions. Ash plumes rose as high as 2.5 km above the crater rim. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was high at 1,700 and 2,000 tons/day on 14 and 17 April, respectively. The Alert Level remained at 3 (on a 5-level scale).

Asosan | Kyushu (Japan) : JMA reported that eruptive activity at Asosan was recorded during 13-20 April. Gray-white ash plumes rose 800-1,100 m above the crater rim and caused ashfall in areas downwind. The sulfur dioxide emission rate was somewhat high at 1,600 and 1,200 tons per day on 14 and 16 April, respectively. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-5).

Bezymianny | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Bezymianny was identified in satellite images during 10-17 April. Gas-and-steam emissions persisted. The Aviation colour Code remained at Yellow (the second lowest level on a four-colour scale).

Dukono | Halmahera (Indonesia) : Based on satellite and wind model data, the Darwin VAAC reported that during 15-21 April ash plumes from Dukono rose to 2.1 km (7,000 ft) a.s.l. and drifted in multiple directions. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and the public was warned to remain outside of the 2-km exclusion zone.

Ebeko | Paramushir Island (Russia) : Volcanologists in Severo-Kurilsk (Paramushir Island), about 7 km E of Ebeko, observed explosions on 13 April that sent ash plumes up to 2.5 km (8,200 ft) a.s.l. Ash plumes drifted SE. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Klyuchevskoy | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that Strombolian activity at Klyuchevskoy was visible during 10-17 April along with a bright thermal anomaly identified in satellite images. Gas-and-steam plumes with some ash rose to 6 km (19,700 ft) a.s.l. and drifted 200 km S and E on those same days. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange.

Kuchinoerabujima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 13-20 April very small eruptive events at Kuchinoerabujima’s Shindake Crater produced grayish-white plumes that rose 600 m above the crater rim. An event at 0147 on 20 April generated a grayish-white plume that rose 800 m and drifted SE. The Alert Level remained at 3 (the middle level on a scale of 1-5).

Merapi | Central Java (Indonesia) : PVMBG reported relatively quiet conditions at Merapi during 13-19 April. White plumes of variable densities rose as high as 300 m above the crater that had formed on 10 April. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a scale of 1-4), and residents were warned to stay outside of the 3-km exclusion zone.

Nevados de Chillan | Chile : ONEMI and SERNAGEOMIN reported that an explosive event at Nevados de Chillán’s Nicanor Crater recorded at 1333 on 21 April was associated with a long-period earthquake signal. The explosion produced a gas-and-ash plume that rose 2.4 km above the vent and drifted SE. The Alert Level remained at Yellow, the second lowest level on a four-colour scale, and residents were reminded not to approach the crater within 3 km. ONEMI maintained an Alert Level Yellow (the middle level on a three-colour scale) for the communities of Pinto, Coihueco, and San Fabián, and stated that the public should stay at least 3 km away from the crater on the SW flank and 5 km away on the ENE flank.

Rincon de la Vieja | Costa Rica : OVSICORI-UNA reported periodic hydrothermal explosions at Rincón de la Vieja during 15-21 April. At 0306 on 15 April a phreatic eruption was recorded by the seismic network; weather conditions prevented visual confirmation, though local residents reported lahars in the Pénjamo, Azufrada, and Azul rivers. A steam plume from a phreatic event at 0929 on 18 April rose 200 m above the crater rim. Several small events were detected during the morning of 19 April but none produced plumes that rose above the rim. At 1014 a phreatic eruption ejected water and sediment 300 m above the crater rim and onto the flank, and produced a steam-and-gas plume that rose 1.5 km above rim. A lahar followed the activity. During 20-21 April several low-energy puffs of gas-and-steam were recorded. A low-energy event at 0626 on 21 April generated a steam plume that rose 1 km above the crater rim.

Sheveluch | Central Kamchatka (Russia) : KVERT reported that a thermal anomaly over Sheveluch was identified in satellite images during 10-17 April. The Aviation colour Code remained at Orange (the second highest level on a four-colour scale).

Shishaldin | Fox Islands (USA) : On 16 April AVO reported that seismicity at Shishaldin had decreased during the past two weeks, though it remained slightly above background levels. Additionally, satellite images showed no new lava nor changes in the crater area, and a decrease in surface temperatures. The Volcano Alert Level was lowered to Advisory and the Aviation colour Code was lowered to Yellow.

Suwanosejima | Ryukyu Islands (Japan) : JMA reported that during 10-17 April incandescence from Suwanosejima’s Ontake Crater was visible nightly. Small eruptions occasionally occurred, along with an explosion on 15 April, producing gray-white plumes that rose as high as 1 km above the crater rim; plumes drifted N on 15 April. Rumbling sounds were noted in a village 4 km SSW. The Alert Level remained at 2 (on a 5-level scale).

Whakaari/White Island | North Island (New Zealand) : On 16 April GeoNet reported that data collected from Whakaari/White Island came from instrumentation on the island only, including seismic stations, webcams, and sulfur dioxide gas emission sensors; no overflights had been conducted over the past three weeks. GeoNet concluded that there were no significant changes in sulfur dioxide flux, seismicity remained low, and the active vents area appeared unchanged since early March. High temperatures from the vent area were apparent at night. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 2 and the Aviation colour Code remained at Yellow.